‘MAKE IN INDIA’ initiative
In 2008, Scoda Tubes Ltd was established as a manufacturer of innovative stainless steel pipe and tube solutions. After solid performance during the early years, Scoda Tubes’ growth sky-rocketed following a management change in 2017. Investing in technical excellence and bristling with ideas on how to develop a global presence, the new management team has steered Scoda Tubes to even greater heights. Today Scoda Tubes is rightly recognised as a global business player with an enviable portfolio of stainless steel seamless and welded pipes, tubes and heat exchanger tubes. Stainless Steel World spoke to the management team about the company’s strengths, its investment in a new piercing mill, and plans for the future.
By David Sear
A company’s evolution is often simply gauged by comparing some basic figures. Take Scoda Tubes for example, which started life in 2008 with two manufacturing lines and, by 2016,
had just over USD 4 million in sales. Looking at the same data today reveals that the company has jumped to twelve production lines and elevated annual sales to USD 19 million. According
to insiders, this very positive trend can largely be traced back to the introduction of a new management team in 2017. These three seasoned young businessmen under thirty – Mr Jagrut Patel, Director Finance,
Mr Samarth Patel, Director Sales and Development, and Mr Vipul Patel, Director Operations – brought with them not just vast experience, but also a clear vision of how to grow the company by striving for technical excellence, the introduction of new ideas and the development of opportunities in the global marketplace.
But first things first: what products does Scoda Tubes offer its customers? “Our current portfolio is already quite extensive,” kick-starts Mr. Vipul Patel. “So for example stainless steel product categories include heat exchanger tubes, seamless pipes, seamless tubes, heat exchanger ‘U’ tubes, seamless ‘U’ tubes, welded pipes, welded ‘U’ tubes, welded tubes and finally instrumentation tubes.”
Moreover, Scoda Tubes offers a staggering number of permutations within each category. This means clients can invariably find the exact tube or pipe for their needs. Taking stainless steel seamless pipe as an example, Mr. Samarth Patel comments as follows: “to start with, we offer seamless pipe in outside diameters from 1/8 to 12 inches nominal bore, and in seven wall thicknesses. Then there are eight different basic grades, from 304 stainless steel up to duplex 32205 stainless steel. Options are also available for many of these grades, such as 316L, 316H, 316Ti, etc. And naturally we are quite at ease working with all major global specifications, such as ASTM, ASME, DIN, NF, JIS, etc. You will find this broad product scope repeated across all our product categories.”
“We are continually looking to see how we can implement technical advances to improve our operations.”
Mr. Vipul Patel, Director Operations
Trust is everything
Thanks to its wide product range, Scoda Tubes has developed a solid customer base in industrial sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, power plants, automobiles, sugar, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, etc. Moreover, clients can be found all around the world, so from Europe to the USA and from South Africa to the Middle East.
“And let us not forget our home country of India, where we have a very strong presence in the domestic market,” adds Mr Samarth Patel.
Asked why they believe their diverse customers, coming from such a wide variety of industries and with varying backgrounds as they do, are so loyal, all three gentlemen are quite unanimous in their answer: trust!
“It is no exaggeration to say that Scoda Tubes is one of the most trusted stainless steel pipe and tube manufacturers in India, known for the high quality of its products,” states Mr. Samarth Patel. “We have nothing to hide so we are very confident in inviting potential customers to visit our manufacturing operations. Here they can see for themselves how all our products are made on modern equipment which is operated by high-trained and fully competent staff. That is surely the foundation for a quality tube or pipe. In addition, we have top-notch advance inspection and post-production inspection techniques available, plus a well-established QA programme. In fact, being able to witness our production set-up first hand is often a key moment for new contacts and turns them from interested prospects into long-term clients.”
“We see change as a factor that brings opportunities.”
Mr Samarth Patel, Director Sales and Development
In addition to the quality of the product itself, Mr Vipul Patel stresses that the quality of service is also very important to customers. “Whether the client is a trader, a stockist, a fabricator, or an engineering company, and no matter whether the order is large or small, we value all our clients and appreciate their business with us. We believe in being transparent and have therefore invested in good internal and external lines of communication so that we can keep our customers properly updated about their orders. Moreover, we have an enviable delivery performance record, hence clients know that they can rely on our commitments to deliver the right products at the right time.” The key to delivery performance is proper planning, continues
Mr Jagrut Patel. “We never make rash promises but give realistic delivery schedules to clients based on our prevailing production capacity and order books. Typically tubes and pipes are manufactured to order, but in addition, we do keep material in stock as appropriate to meet urgent customer demand.”
As stated earlier, Scoda Tubes has continually invested in new equipment and machinery right from its foundation in 2008. The company recently made a significant investment to expand its premises with an additional area of no less than 20,000 square metres. It is therefore a logical question to ask the current generation of leaders about ongoing capital expenditure.
Mr Samarth Patel replies as follows:
“We recently invested in a major project, namely a brand-new piercing mill for the production of mother hollows. This project has been successfully completed, with production having started in May 2022. I have to say that we are all very excited about this development, in terms of what it means for us as manufacturers but also for our customers. In short, the new piercing mill has enabled us to realise efficiencies in production, deliver quality benefits and ideally position Scoda Tubes to fulfil the ever-growing demand for raw material which is needed for the production of seamless stainless steel products.”
The Scoda Tubes team has yet more ambitious expansion plans which are continuing apace. It is now undertaking two more construction projects which will further enhance its bright annealing facility, and significantly increase production capacity. By the time the current projects are completed, the company will have added an additional ten production lines to its manufacturing base. Furthermore, the purchase of additional land has enabled the company to reposition its main entrance, which now opens up directly onto the National Highway.
“An important point to remember is that the production of tubes and pipes is a multistage operation,” comments Mr Vipul Patel. “Take welded products as an example. Here, operations can include cutting to length, welding, in-line bead rolling, mechanical straightening, annealing, etc. At all of these stages and more, we are continually looking to see where and how we can implement technical advances that will improve our operations, boost the quality of our products and generally enhance our customer satisfaction. That requires considerable investments but we consider that money well spent as we are most definitely in this for the long-term.”
In addition to producing the actual tubes and pipes, Scoda Tubes also offers customers a range of extra services, notes Mr Samarth Patel. “Our objective is to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible. So on request, we can bend tubes to exact specifications such as for use in heat exchangers, we can manufacture extra-long lengths, and we can also cut tubes and pipes to length. This latter service is especially appreciated by our customers in the automobile segment. We also have a range of options when it comes to packaging to ensure that, however far our products are sent and whatever the means of transport, our tubes and pipes will arrive in tip-top condition.”
“We give realistic delivery schedules to clients based on our prevailing production capacity and order books.”
Mr Jagrut Patel, Director Finance
Watch this space
At the end of our pleasant exchanges, it is clear that all three managers are intensely proud of Scoda Tubes. Proud, but by no means complacent. “Market demands are shifting and changing every day and it is our responsibility to signal these changes and to ensure Scoda Tubes adapts accordingly to provide optimum service to our customers,” emphasizes Mr Jagrut Patel.
“We see change as a factor that brings opportunities, especially for companies like Scoda Tubes that are agile and determined,” adds Mr Samarth Patel. “Taking a global approach we can identify a great many existing and emerging industrial sectors as potential new markets for our seamless and welded stainless steel tubes and pipes. Yes, some areas may be in decline, but the overall picture is one of increasing growth in demand.”
The final word, however, must go to Mr Vipul Patel. “You know, we almost forgot to mention our research and development department. As my colleagues just indicated, new areas of industry are opening up all the time, especially as the world looks to move to cleaner, more sustainable technologies. All these areas and more will benefit from advanced materials solutions. That’s why we have a team of materials engineers and application experts who are continually looking into the practical aspects of developing new grades, sizes and products to better meet specific areas of application. Right now for example they are working on nickel alloys and other exotic grades. So please watch this space as Scoda Tubes is very definitely a company that is determined to further grow its global presence!”
Facts & Figures
|Location||Rajpur, Gujarat, India|
|Main activity:||Manufacture of seamless and welde3d pipes, tubes, ‘U’ tubes and instrumentation tubes|
|Main materials:||Stainless steels and duplex stainless steels|
|Application areas:||Oil & gas, petrochyemicals, power plants, automobiles, sugar, pharameuticals, shipbuilding, etc|
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